Diners at Backfire BBQ tear into wood-fire-grilled barbecue entrees of ribs, burgers, and chicken amid 8,300 square feet of custom-built choppers, antique motorcycles, and classic cars. The smell of a chicken finger appetizer drizzled with honey mustard mingles with the sounds of frequent live music or episodes of American Chopper screened on plasma televisions. Guests take notes for redecorating their bedrooms while admiring revolving motorcycle fountains before they move on to meals of hickory-smoked pulled pork or a full slab of ribs. The Full Throttle entree weighs down plates with a quintet of grilled meats, including ribs, beef brisket burnt ends, and smoked sausage. Tipplers wander through a NASCAR-themed room decked with racecar engines and memorabilia while communicating in the guttural vrooms of racecar dialect.
Taking a three-hour lunch break might be frowned upon when you're at the office, but not if you work for Taste of Kansas City Food Tours. The company's tour guides specialize in meals on the move, leading groups to nearby restaurants for samples of their specialties. The stops on the walking tour tend to be locally owned eateries located slightly to the left of the mainstream—though they don't shy away from a famous pizza joint or two.
One route takes guests through Crossroads, and the other explores Westport, but both fill the time between bites with facts about the neighborhood and its history. The tastings on each tour might change from day to day, so surprise is the only common ingredient. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that you'll end the afternoon with a full stomach and a stack of clean plates.
Since 1971, the chefs at Winslow's BBQ have been preparing meats ranging from ribs to turkey with a thorough dry-rub and a slow-cook over a hickory pit smoker. Although all of the meats are cooked the same way, not all of them sport the same zesty, housemade barbecue sauce. Homestyle sides, such as creamy potato salad and crispy french fries, accompany each main entree and scare the living daylights out of Mr. Potato Head. Diners can feast amid the dining room's exposed brick walls and black leather booths, or enjoy their meals on the outdoor patio, which is open during the spring and summer months.
C. Withers serves soulful homemade wings, rib tips, pastas, and more in a warm, friendly atmosphere. The menu boasts a range of hearty foods that smoke sequestered taste buds out of hiding, like the six wings and rib tips ($14.75) and eight-wing meal with two sides ($11.84). Noodle-based entrees such as the blackened chicken and sausage pasta ($10.60) let fidgety feeders practice shoelace-tying techniques at the table, and specialty cakes and other desserts sweetly cap off savory meals. Instead of using unhealthy frying methods, the skilled staffers at C. Withers prepare all dishes in either a broiler or a smoker, which ensures tender textures and rich flavors.
Owned and operated by the Quick family since 1964, Quick’s lays out a menu of hearty, hickory-smoked vessels sailing through a savory sea of barbecue sauce. Watch chefs in action as they cook up house specialties, including the half-pound pulled-pork sandwich ($6.19), in a diner-style kitchen. Deep-fried delights such as the bologna sandwich ($3.49) are hickory-smoked before swan-diving into a taste-enhancing oil bath. Sink omnivorous teeth into the Burnt Ends dinner, a half-pound of tender beef brisket taking center stage as a trio of fries, beans, and slaw provide able accompaniment ($10.49). Meanwhile, bellies as hollow as Captain Ahab's maniacal drive for revenge can fill up with the full slab of hickory-smoked spare ribs ($16.49).